Antiparasitic Drugs For Worms

  • Afifah Aslam Doctor of Pharmacy- Pharm D, Jinnah University for Women, Pakistan

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Parasitism might be characterised as a condition in which one life form (the parasite) either hurts its host or here and there lives to the detriment of the host. Parasites influence a huge number of individuals overall and cause enormous torment and passing, particularly in less-created nations.1

Brief explanation of worm infections

A portion of the major parasitic sicknesses tainting people and creatures are recorded here in two classes: those brought about by protozoans (single-celled organic entities) and those brought about by helminths (worms/metazoans).1

Parasites are passed on to people in a wide range of ways. The least difficult is by unplanned ingestion of infective eggs or hatchlings. Different worms have larvae that effectively enter the skin. An intermediate host vector is required for infection in several instances. At times the transitional vector communicates infective stages when it nibbles the host to take a blood feed, in different cases, the hatchlings are contained in the tissues of the halfway host and are taken in when a human eats that host. The degrees of disease in people in this manner rely upon principles of cleanliness (as eggs and hatchlings spend much of the time elapsed in pee or defecation), on the environment (which might lean toward endurance of infective stages), on the manners by which food is ready, and on the level of openness to bug vectors.2

Overview of common antiparasitic drugs for worms

Antiparasitic drugs work by killing parasites, halting their development, or incapacitating them. Each antiparasitic drug deals with a particular parasite. The medication prescribed by medical professionals is tailored to the specific parasite that is causing the infection. 

Contingent upon the kind of contamination and the parasite that caused it, you might take antiparasitic drugs:3

  • OrallyIntravenouslyTopically

Types of worm infections

The following are the common types:Roundworms: Roundworms are parasites—organisms that can only survive on or in another organism. Roundworms enter the body when ingested as worm eggs that before long lid into hatchlings. These hatchlings travel through the liver, lungs, and different organs. These "wandering worms" typically do not cause any obvious symptoms or damage. Nonetheless, at times they can cause harm to tissue. They can sometimes get into the eyes or affect the nerves. Now and again, they might cause long-lasting nerve or eye harm, even visual impairment.4


Most tapeworms need two unique hosts to finish a daily existence cycle. One host is where a parasite develops from egg to hatchling, called the halfway host. The other host is where the hatchling becomes grown-up, called the conclusive host. At the point when individuals, the conclusive host, eat half-cooked meat from that cow, they can foster a tapeworm disease.5


Hookworms live in the small digestive system. Hookworm eggs are passed in the excrement of a tainted individual. If the tainted individual poops outside (close to shrubberies, in a nursery, or field) or on the other hand assuming that the defecation of a contaminated individual is utilised as manure, eggs are kept on the soil. They can then develop and incubate, delivering hatchlings (juvenile worms). The hatchlings mature into a structure that can enter the skin of people. Hookworm disease is mostly procured by strolling shoeless on sullied soil. One sort of hookworm can likewise be sent through the ingestion of hatchlings. Some have gastrointestinal side effects, particularly people who are tainted interestingly. The most serious impact of hookworm disease is blood misfortune prompting pallor, notwithstanding protein misfortune.6

Common antiparasitic drugs

The following are the common antiparasitic drugs:


Mechanism of action: The active metabolite of albendazole, albendazole sulfoxide, causes selective degeneration. The metabolite ties to the B-tubulin subunit of the helminth's microtubules and hence hinders microtubule polymerisation.

At high focuses, albendazole hinders parasitic metabolic pathways, for example, the Kreb cycle by repressing key compounds, for example, malate dehydrogenase. An ensuing lessening in Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) creation happens, which causes energy exhaustion, prompting the immobilisation of the parasite and resulting demise.7

Common uses: Albendazole is an antihelminthic drug that can be used for a variety of conditions, including cystic hydatid disease of the liver, lungs, and peritoneum triggered by the larval form of the dog tapeworm.

Albendazole additionally has endorsement for treating parenchymal neurocysticercosis optional to dynamic sores brought about by contamination with larval types of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. It can likewise be an important specialist for the treatment of pinworm illness brought about by Enterobius vermicularis. Trichiura, filariasis, ascariasis, and metronidazole-resistant Giardiasis can all be treated with albendazole.7

Adverse Effects: These include migraines and raised liver enzymes. Other symptoms of albendazole incorporate stomach torment, sickness, retching, and fever.7


Mechanism of action: Mebendazole prevents polymerisation by binding to the colchicine binding site on -tubulin, which blocks the production of microtubules. Also, participates in the absorption of glucose and disrupts parasites' digestive and reproductive functions.8

Common uses: Mebendazole is a common, wide-range benzimidazole utilised for over 40 years in people to treat different parasitic pervasions. It has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of gastrointestinal infections brought on by a variety of parasites in patients older than two years old.8

Adverse Effects: The most well-known antagonistic impacts going with mebendazole use are loss of craving, stomach torment, loose bowels, bloating, sickness, retching, cerebral pain, tinnitus, and raised liver enzymes. On higher doses, individuals report neutropenia and thrombocytopenia also.8


Mechanism of action: Ivermectin collaborates with glutamate-gated chloride channels on nematode engine neurons and prompts hyperpolarization and paralysis.10

Common uses: The medication is of extraordinary interest in the treatment of patients with various structures of scabies, human body lice, head lice, demodicosis, cutaneous hatchling migrants, cutaneous hatchling currens, myiasis, and filariasis.10

Adverse Effects: Trouble in moving, muscle torment or firmness, torment in the joints, enlarged, agonising, or delicate lymph organs in the armpit.11


Mechanism of action: Praziquantel, is thought to bind to the actin and myosin light chain of helminths, altering their membrane fluidity and lowering the glutathione concentration in schistosomes, both of which disrupt ion transport in cestodes and nematodes.9

Common uses: Praziquantel is a vermicide that is utilized to oversee disease brought about by cestodes (tapeworms). Praziquantel is likewise viable in contaminations brought about by Hymenolepis nana. Praziquantel is likewise fundamental in overseeing contaminations brought about by trematodes (accidents) and is the medication of decision for a broad range infection.9

Adverse Effect: GI (gastrointestinal) disturbances, skin rashes, arthralgia, myalgia, and low-grade fever are some of the side effects of praziquantel.9

Diethylcarbamazine (DEC)

Mechanism of action: Diethylcarbamazine decreases the quantity of microfilariae by sharpening them to phagocytosis.9

Common uses: It is a medication of decision for filariasis, loiasis, and tropical eosinophilia.9

Adverse Effects: Tingling and enlarging of the face, particularly the eyes. More uncommon effects include fever, excruciating and delicate organs in the neck, armpits, or crotch, and skin rash.12

Selection and administration of antiparasitic drugs

Diagnosis of the specific worm infection

Healthcare provider analyse parasitic contaminations by searching for parasites or indications of parasites in body liquids or tissues by taking the following samples:

Also utilise different tests, for example, X-beams, or CT sweeps to analyse parasitic contamination, contingent upon your side effects.13

Dosage and duration of treatment

The dosing guidelines differ with each sort of medication. Your doctor will let you know the amount to take and how long to take it. Adhere to your supplier's dosing guidelines cautiously.3

Considerations for special populations (e.g., pregnant women)

Share your well-being history with your supplier prior to taking antiparasitic meds. Certain individuals shouldn't ingest these medications, incorporating individuals with kidney illnesses. On the off chance that you have a compromised immune system. Assuming you're pregnant or breastfeeding, converse with your doctor before you take these drugs. Some of them can hurt your child.3


Parasitic infection is caused by an organism called parasites which needs a host organism to complete their life cycle and make the individual infected. It’s a worldwide burden, especially in the not-so-developed countries where poverty and unhygienic conditions prevail. There are a variety of worms that cause such infections and to halt such situations researchers come up with antiparasitic medication that acts against such infections each in a different manner. Some of the antiparasitic medications include Albendazole, Mebendazole, Ivermectin, Praziquantel, and Diethylcarbamazine. These medications differ from each other based on their dosing regimen, side effects, mode of action, and their action against different parasitic organisms. For the selection of a specific medication against a specific infection, a healthcare provider diagnoses the patient’s condition by evaluating their symptoms and by taking different samples such as stool, blood, and body fluids to trace the presence of the specific organism. Doctors also recommend some quick imaginary tests such as X-rays, CT scans, etc to evaluate the damage caused by the infection.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Afifah Aslam

Doctor of Pharmacy- Pharm D, Jinnah University for Women, Pakistan

Afifah Aslam is a dedicated pharmacist, passionate medical article writer and MBA candidate where she honoring her leadership and strategic skills to further elevate her career.

She embarked on a fulfilling career as a pharmacist, working diligently in various healthcare settings such as in Hospital and Retail sector. Her commitment to patient care, attention to detail, and innovative approach to pharmaceutical solutions made her a trusted figure.

However, her passion for research and desire to share her knowledge with a broader audience led her to the field of medical writing. Her journey exemplifies the power of adaptability, determination, and the pursuit of knowledge and her impact on the healthcare industry, both as a practitioner and a communicator, continues to inspire and shape the future of healthcare.

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